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Housing Act

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many final Empty Dwelling Management Orders under the Housing Act 2004 the Government expect to be granted; what extra resources are planned to be allocated to residential property tribunals for hearing EDMO cases; under what circumstances a property owner will be able to ask for a final EDMO to be lifted within the seven-year period; what rights a property owner has in respect of a local housing authority which is not managing a property which is subject to an EDMO to a reasonable standard; whether a local housing authority will be able to charge a reasonable management fee; and what rights neighbours will have in respect of tenants of a property subject to an EDMO in cases of anti-social behaviour. (75592)

We do not know how many Empty Dwelling Management Orders will be made in practice since they have been introduced, as many local authorities are finding them a helpful backstop which encourages greater voluntary action to bring properties back into use.

An additional £1 million is being made available annually to the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS) to cover its new jurisdictions under the Housing Act 2004.

A property owner may at any time ask for a final EDMO to be revoked early by the council. If the council refuses to revoke the order, the property owner can appeal to the RPTS. A local authority may revoke the order if it concludes: there are no steps which it could appropriately take to secure occupation of the dwelling; that keeping the order in force is not necessary; it is satisfied the dwelling will become either or continue to be occupied despite the revocation; it is satisfied the dwelling will be sold; it would be appropriate to revoke the order to prevent or stop interference with the rights of a third party; a further final EDMO will be made to replace the existing order; or in any other circumstances the local authority consider it would be appropriate to revoke the order.

A local authority must take such steps it considers appropriate when an Empty Dwelling Management Order is in force to ensure proper management of the dwelling. A final EDMO must contain a management scheme setting out how the local authority intends to manage the property. A property owner may apply to the residential property tribunal for an order requiring the authority to manage the dwelling in accordance with the scheme.

A local authority is not restricted in setting a management fee in respect of a dwelling subject to an EDMO and would seek to recover its fees (or those of its appointed manager) from any rental income accrued from letting the dwelling.

Neighbouring property owners would be entitled to complain to the local authority about the behaviour of tenants of a property subject to an EDMO in the same way they would be entitled to complain to any property manager.